Wimberly Letter to Education Commissioner Calls for Investigation into Fornaro Comments

In a letter sent to New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet earlier this week, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic), a Paterson Public Schools educator, called for an investigation into questions posed and remarks made by State Board of Education member Jack Fornaro. During a May 1 board meeting in Trenton, Fornaro inquired as to whether Paterson students, many of whom are Hispanic, were learning American history. The letter read in part:

          “For a State Board Member, who has at their hands, the curriculum standards for all New Jersey students (not just wealthy or lower income) at his disposal, to suggest that Paterson Public School District teaches other than what is required, shows either they don’t know or were on a mission to treat our students, who are part of the immigrant community, that there is no HOPE for them, because they lack the basic knowledge of what America is about.”

In closing, the letter stated:

Commissioner, I hope we can have further dialogue on this issue, as we have had on other issues, where race and cultural differences have come into play. This will allow us to let our communities know, we’re not going to let outsiders continue to beat up on our students, because they may not look like them.”

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